Shocking details about couple’s ‘slave’

A Melbourne couple are facing trial in the Supreme Court accused of keeping a woman as a slave for eight years. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
A Melbourne couple are facing trial in the Supreme Court accused of keeping a woman as a slave for eight years. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

A woman allegedly kept as a slave in a Melbourne home for eight years survived mainly on tea before she was found lying in a pool of urine weighing just 40kg, a court has been told.

A husband and wife, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are both charged with intentionally possessing a slave and intentionally exercising the right of ownership over the woman between 2007 and 2015.

The Mount Waverley couple both pleaded not guilty at their trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria which started on Wednesday.

The husband accused of keeping a woman a slave leaves Victorian Supreme Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
The husband accused of keeping a woman a slave leaves Victorian Supreme Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

The woman's situation was uncovered when an ambulance was called after she was found shivering on the bathroom floor in July 2015, prosecutor Richard Maidment QC told jurors.

"She was found in her own urine, in a puddle on the bathroom floor and shivering," he said.

The "incoherent" woman was rushed to hospital and paramedics recorded her temperature at 28.5C, he said.

The court heard she weighed just 40kg and she had sepsis.

The woman, from Tamil Nadu in southern India, initially made arrangements to live with the couple and be paid to look after their children, Mr Maidment said.

The woman was meant to be paid to look after the couple’s children. Source:Facebook
The woman was meant to be paid to look after the couple’s children. Source:Facebook

But over eight years she wasn't paid and when police searched the property her "worldly possessions" fit in two bags.

When police interviewed her she said there was food for her but she "mainly drank tea", the court was told.

"She worked very hard and during the whole of the eight years that she was with the (couple) all she received by way of payment were the odd $5 or $10 note that might have been given on her birthday," Mr Maidment said.

A Melbourne couple are facing trial in the Victorian Supreme Court charged with keeping a slave. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
A Melbourne couple are facing trial in the Victorian Supreme Court charged with keeping a slave. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

 

When the family went on holidays for month-long trips the woman was locked in the home with some of the doors sealed shut, he said.

Initially the woman didn't tell police how long she had been in the country or the "mistreatment" she endured because she feared she wouldn't be able to return to India, the court heard.

The prosecutors allege the couple had such a level of control over the woman's rights and freedoms that it was slavery.

The court heard they allegedly controlled her right to communicate with others, freedom of movement and her rights to health care and payment for work.

The trial before Justice John Champion continues.

Originally published as Shocking details about couple's 'slave'



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